The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we use the internet. With the shift to working from home and distance learning online, along with the temporary closure of entertainment venues and restaurants only open for carry-out, Americans are hungry for content. That hunger is turning into web traffic.
According to a poll from the Pew Research Center, 53% of Americans say the internet has been essential during the COVID-19 outbreak. People are looking for ways to connect and to pass the time beyond their phone screens. They are seeking information about the virus and its impact on their communities and the world around them. Distractions from the news of the day are an added bonus.
The New York Times analyzed internet usage in the United States and found that behaviors have shifted. We’re not looking at our phones as much, but we are still spending a lot of time online. With so many individuals seeking credible information, more eyes are on websites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has experienced a spike in traffic. Local and national news websites are benefitting from this as people seek information about the impact on communities and the economy.
As people turn even more of their attention to their screens, now is a great time to tell the story of your company or organization. People are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story. Stories make your brand relatable and show audiences why something is important versus telling them.
Tips to Get Started with Storytelling
While it may feel daunting to get creative in the midst of a crisis, there’s no better time to tell a good story. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Identify the stories you want to tell. Compelling stories can be found just about anywhere. A strong story moves you from reacting to the news to taking control of the narrative. Think about your business goals and how storytelling could help drive those goals forward. How is your company adapting to this new normal? Do you have a new product or service to highlight? What is something your team has learned from the pandemic? Those insights can be the basis for a great story.
Get organized. Develop a content calendar and determine a regular cadence for sharing stories on your website. Whether you’re sharing stories once a week or once a month, planning will help you stay organized. That organization will go a long way in helping you stay ahead of the news cycle.
Variety is key. Storytelling can be done in a number of ways. Video is a great way to share authentic stories in a personal way. A well-written article will resonate on another level. A photo essay is another unique way to tell a story. Media consumption varies by generation, so it’s best to plan a mix of video and written stories to connect with your audience no matter how they prefer to consume content.
Host a webinar or webchat. A good interview can lead to great content. Webinars are an excellent tool for storytelling. Invite a guest to join you for an interview or webchat on a topic that resonates with your audience. Consider having members of your team share stories from a favorite project or insights they have gained during this unique time. Publish a recording of the webinar or chat on your website to give the content a longer shelf life.
Use social media to promote your stories. Once you’ve created the content, you want to make sure people find it. Create social posts to accompany your stories. Share interesting bits of information through posts on your social channels, then encourage people to read the full story on your website.
People are looking for stories that inspire them, that make them feel connected. There’s no better time to tell your story and help inspire and connect them to your brand.